BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A major federal raid on a Baltimore flea market. Agents seized counterfeit designer goods from dozens of vendors. There are new details about the extensive two and a half year investigation.
Kai Jackson has more on the undercover sting.
Authorities say counterfeit merchandise is not only illegal, they say it hurts the legitimate businesses.
Homeland Security agents raided the popular Patapsco Flea Market on Sunday. ICE agents say it was the nexus of selling counterfeit merchandise.
“Could be luxury goods, as in purses or sneakers, that type of stuff, sunglasses,” said ICE Special Agent William Winter.
According to court records, agents spent two and a half years investigating the market. The warrant issued details of the operation. They even set up a fake business to gather intelligence. Louis Vuitton, Nike and Coach were just some of the many counterfeit names for sale.
“If you didn’t have anything counterfeit and you didn’t have any warrants, etc., they let you go. Any merchandise which wasn’t real is gone. Everything,” said vendor Brandon Long.
Agents won’t say exactly what items were counterfeited or how much they confiscated. Agents say knock-offs hurt legitimate businesses by cutting into sales and profits.
“It’s a huge issue. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and it impacts the United States in many ways,” Winter said.
In 1996, Baltimore police charged 30 vendors with selling counterfeit clothing at the Patapsco Flea Market.